You'd expect sea-inspired eats to be the standouts on The Mermaid Inn's brunch menu, and indeed, it's hard to go wrong with their fish tacos or shrimp po'boy. What's surprising is that their pancakes and French toast—seemingly boring same-olds that certainly don't mesh with fish—are executed with just as much flair. Personally, I'm biased towards the former, made with a loose cornmeal batter that yields ultra-thin cakes ($12). The tiniest hint of the outer layer gets a crispy finish, but inside, the texture's smooth, with just a bit of grittiness from the cornmeal and a subtly sweet edge. Powdered sugar and maple syrup are the only accompaniments on a somewhat lackluster-looking plate that's anything but.
The Mermaid Inn
568 Amsterdam Ave, New York NY 10024 (map)